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April 2010
Published by Geoff Kelly, Kelly Strategic Influence

Wisdom to lead minds:

"This is the true joy in life, the being used for a purpose recognised by yourself as a mighty one...the being a force of nature instead of a feverish, selfish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy."

George Bernard Shaw

Why Effective Leaders Build their Ideas on The Bedrock of Conviction

There is a common myth among leaders that if they could just see their way clear of the massive and competing drains on their attention, energy and time, then they could at last focus on what is truly important.

Unfortunately, those who hold to that myth are destined to wallow in it. They face more choices, more information, more interruptions Ė and more bad advice Ė than did leaders at any previous time in history. Even if they are not under 25 and living on Facebook and their Blackberry in a blizzard of tweets and SMSs, they are thoroughly overwhelmed. And each year the overwhelm gets worse.

The consequence is that when they articulate their core ideas they simply join the many others pouring out the mindless chatter that everyone has learned to screen out.

Effective leaders take a different path. They donít wait to get clear because they understand that wonít happen of itself. They work first on their convictions, and then let the blizzard sort itself out.

So they donít struggle to get clarity from their environment, which leads to further frustration and confusion. They only consider their environment in the sense they draw upon their life experiences to define the values and convictions upon which they will stand and lead.

But hereís the point. When they define and articulate their core convictions, the blizzard and overwhelm largely disappears for them. And they project the greatest quality a leader can have in attracting and convincing followers Ė authenticity. When a leader stands on his or her convictions, people know it. And for the leader and the followers, those core convictions also mightily sort out whatís important from the tsunami of distraction that wrecks the efforts of the unfocused majority.

What brings a special authenticity to a leaderís conviction is the legacy on which it is based, his or her life experiences. Those who seek to build their conviction on the weaker foundations of organisation values and vision find true authenticity a harder reach.

We see every day corporate and Government leaders with plenty of conviction. These are too often men and women who learn the scripts and adopt the values they see as important to climb and survive the executive ladder.

Can they speak with conviction? Absolutely. But it is a kind of collective conviction that seems safe, predictable, somewhat boring, and a little hollow. Staff, external and internal peers and other potential followers of their ideas will often align with them, but rarely initiate action for them. People are less likely to innovate or take risks in pursuing the vision and strategies of such leaders.

On the other hand, leaders who project authenticity based on convictions forged from the legacy of their life experiences are magnets for their followers. People trust them and take extraordinary action for them.

These leaders change the way we see the world and we love them for it. These leaders and their convictions create the future and leave others wondering why their own ideas wither in comparison.

Effective leaders stand out because they have convictions they live by even when they think no-one is looking. And this is the core of authenticity that gives their ideas power and resonance beyond the words used or the intrinsic quality of the ideas themselves.

Their reward is achieving their goals by communicating less and differently. Less, because they are more trusted. Differently because they resonate with more meaning to the people who count most Ė the followers they serve.

For leaders unwilling to develop this level of conviction and authenticity, each year will become more difficult. For this kind of leader, gaining attention and converting support now costs more money, takes more time and is less certain than at any time in human history. And leaders who canít earn support will disappear up an evolutionary dead end.

More next month...


Geoff Kelly works with leaders who are frustrated that others don't fully support their ideas and strategies. He mainly works with corporate leaders around the world, but also leaders in Government and Not for Profit. He is also a popular speaker on this and related subjects. See www.kellystrategicinfluence.com.au, email [email protected] or call +613 9678 9218 for more information


© 2009 - 2010 Geoff Kelly All rights reserved.
You are free to use material from the Leading Minds eZine in whole or in part, as long as you include complete attribution, including live web site link. Please also notify me where the material will appear. The attribution should read: "By Geoff Kelly of Kelly Strategic Influence. Please visit Geoff's web site at www.kellystrategicinfluence.com.au for additional articles and resources on earning support for your ideas and strategies." (Make sure the link is live if placed in an eZine or in a web site.)



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